I am going to be in Malaysia from from the middle to the end of January. I'm primarily there for the Thaipusam festival at the Batu caves near KL, but I have time after the festival to go one other place for a few days. I would love to visit a place of particular Malaysian exotic beauty. I was looking at some of the islands off the east coast, but from what I've read, they are closed down for monsoons until sometime in March. Is this correct? Anywhere else people would recommend that is open and pleasant in January? I was considering Taman Negara, but it seems like the rains will be a problem there in January as well? Langkawi seems like an option, but it looks a bit too touristy/high-end for my tastes. I'm on a pretty tight budget, but more than that, I prefer a place that is not TOO homogenized.
by January the rainy season would have subsided reasonably however most east coast islands would probably be closed still. thaipusam's on the 29th of Jan so after Batu Caves why not go to Pangkor Island (west coast, off Sitiawan, Perak). pretty laid back, inexpensive, enjoyable island. do make prior arrangements (ie accomo, transport) since thaipusam being a public holiday vacation spots get filled up rataher quickly... For better privacy, tranquility, all the nice stuff, etc etc.. choose Pangkor Laut Island instead.. its kinda pricey but worth it.
Thanks. I'm looking into the islands you mentioned. What do you think about Taman Negara in late January? Worth it or also too rainy?
Also, are you sure about Thaipusam being on the 29th? Everywhere on the net I have looked, they say Jan 20-22 for 2011. I'm hoping this is the case, since I've scheduled my time in KL/Batu caves around those dates.